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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2011
UPDATE 12/13/12 >>5 PHOTOS<< (I regret they are in posted in backwards order.)

Because there are no personal reviews, no sample pages, and no audio clips on the internet. I have hesitated to buy this course. Owning most Fgyptian Arabic courses available, many MSA courses, also a few Gulf and Levantine courses, I've studied two years independently. One of my children is minoring in university Arabic, vists the Middle East often.

With that background to my opinion: I've made a thorough overview of this book's method and contents, and I've begun the lessons. I feel this "Intensive Course" will keep me *speaking* Arabic along with giving me the grammar knowledge to *construct my own* speech using the vast practical vocabulary it provides. I'm confident that the usual extreme effort it takes to progress in learning Arabic will be rewarded with this method and course!

As written on the back cover: "It is designed for students who have reached the lower intermediate level of Modern Standard Arabic and are now ready to branch out into their first experience of a major spoken dialect." You must have that foundation to use this book. (Comfortable with Arabic script, general Arabic grammar and basic MSA vocabulary.)

(I plan to update this review as I progress through the book.) I regret I did not buy it a year ago.

Best wishes to each reader.

UPDATE 12/13/12 >>PHOTOS<< and my answer to a comment-question :

Almost entirely in Arabic script. Transliteration is found *only* supplementing Arabic in the extensive tables (tables of verbs, prepositions, etc.)

The *only* English words: equivalent English for each Arabic vocabulary word and all grammar explanation in English for Arabic examples.

All vocabulary, exercises, drills, tables clearly recorded in beautiful 'amiyya on mp3 files. --Best wishes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2012
While many people may think of Arabic as challenging thanks to its script and grammar, there is no doubt that the diglossic situation of the language is potentially the most daunting feature, not just because of the differences between MSA and dialects, but because historically there has been a very small pool of resources for studying the dialects, and an even smaller pool if one is transitioning from MSA to a dialect or to a from one dialect to a second dialect. After working through this book, however, I believe this is an excellent introduction to the Egyptian dialect.

What I like about this course is that it employs the use of Arabic script throughout the lessons. While some other dialect courses are decent, they often rely on transliteration rather than the Arabic script. While this may be good for students who're learning the dialect for touristic or short-term purposes, I don't consider it great for those who have background in MSA and wish to use that knowledge. Yes, learning a new transliteration system isn't difficult. After all, most of the letters are represented by the same letters or symbols. Another common argument is that spoken Arabic isn't usually written, so it is not necessary. From experience, however, dialect is written in several informal contexts, and it is helpful that as a student with MSA background I don't have to learn the language through Roman letters. That being said, parts of the text - such as the introductions to grammatical features - have transliterations alongside them, which truly is helpful when first exploring pronunciation differences.

More importantly, this book's organization is excellent, in that it combines the introduction of vocabulary and grammar in each of the exercises, often comparatively towards MSA, to highlight the differences - as well as the overwhelming similarities - between the two forms of the language. The vocabulary is displayed at the beginning of each lesson, and accompanied by audio on the CD, and sentences are provided in each chapter as well. When it comes to the grammar, there are several examples provided for the main topics of each lesson, which is very helpful in order to see how each feature functions in different instances. Drills and exercises are also provided, and the content of the book is accompanied by excellent audio from the CD is great in that it is neither slow nor fast.

What I have found is that the gap between MSA and the Arabic dialects is not as dramatic as some may make it out to be. Yes, there are significant differences, but the similarities overwhelm these differences in that the different forms are all elegantly intertwined.

In all, I recommend this book to students interested in embarking upon their study of Egyptian Arabic. I look forward to the second volume of Kalaam Gamiil.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2013
First off, Kalaam Gamiil is NOT for someone who has never studied Arabic before--I was in a course with some people whose ability to read Arabic was a little on the shaky side, and they really struggled, since nothing is transliterated. I would also think twice before getting this book for self-directed study. The big problem there is that the CD I got, at least, was terribly formatted. It would start in some random chapter and jump around from there, making it difficult to work on any of the listening exercises.

However, if you can read Arabic, have a basic grasp of grammatical terms (the more MSA you know, the better), and have an alternate listening source, this is a very good textbook. The descriptions of Egyptian Arabic are clear and it's predominantly vocabulary-based at first, which is exactly what I was looking for. Just be careful about the CD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2014
For people with a grounding of a year or two of Modern Standard Arabic, this book is a good transition to studying colloquial Arabic of Egypt. I'd prefer these two volumes over the Kallimni series of 6 books for such students, because Kalaam includes numerous grammatical points (in English) about why and how the standard MSA grammar is different in Egyptian. Kallimni series does not include grammatical explanations often (and only in Arabic), and Kallimni series puts the English translation of vocabulary and a sparse number of transliteration of longer dialogues inconveniently in the back while Kalaam intersperses them right in the chapter's text. A new student of Arabic or self-study could conceivably use Kalaam series to start from scratch, but the constant references to MSA grammar may confuse them with rules/info they don't need. However, Kallimni (with a native teacher) is the better total beginner course - but would be impossible to do as a self-study.
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